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Canadian Legal Research Guide


Finding judicial consideration of legislative provisions

To find cases that have considered a particular section of federal or provincial legislation:

SELECTED / LEADING CASES

Use annotated legislation - for example, the latest editions of the Annotated Immigration and Refugee Protection Act of Canada and the Annotated Canadian Human Rights Act contain case notes on significant decisions that interpret each provision.

ALL CASES

In CANLII (open access):

  • either go to Statutes and Regulations from the home page to navigate to the legislation, then to the section or sub-section, or simply type the name of the Act in the Legislation Title search box on the home page. 
  • scroll to the section number and click on the hyperlinked section or sub-section number - a popup box will tell you how many documents cite this provision. Click on the link to see the citing cases. These can be viewed by jurisdiction, court level etc. 

In WestlawNext Canada (UniMelb staff & student access):

  • either go to Statutes and Regulations from the home page and navigate to your Act, or start to type the name of the Act in the top search box - autocomplete will find the Act for you.
  • navigate to the section
  • click on the Citing References button at the top of the screen, and click on Cases and Decisions in the dropdown menu. The cases can then be sorted by eg: sub-section, jurisdiction, court level, citation frequency, and treatment type.

In Lexis Advance - Canadian Statutes (UniMelb staff & student access):

  • navigate to the Act and then keep clicking the + signs to get to your section.
  • if there are cases considering the section, a View Casebase Entry link will be above the section - this will take you to cases considering this section.

TIP: while many of the same cases will be found in all of the above databases, they will all have slightly different coverage - so if you want to find as many cases as possible on your legislative provision, use all three databases!

NOTE: the online databases referred to above generally only have coverage from the 1990s to current. To find older cases considering statutory provisions, you will need to use the print Canadian Statute Citations (previously called the Statutes Judicially Considered).

For more information on judicial consideration of statutes, see the Queen's University Library Legal Research Manual - Statutes Considered.